One of the things I admire most about my deerslayer and his philosophy about hunting is his respect for nature, his respect for the animal, and his appreciation for the right that we have to harvest our own food. I appreciate how he taught our daughters to never hunt anything that you don’t intend to eat. And that harvesting the deer humanely is more decent than allowing them to overpopulate and ulimately starve. I agree with his attitude that processing meat is something that we can do at home. By doing it at home, you know how fresh your meat is, that it’s YOUR meat, and you can package it up the way you need it for your recipes.
This entry needs to start with a tutorial; because I’m a deerslayer’s wife, a teacher, a homeschooling mom, and a huge proponent of not wasting what God has provided for us. I also have a propensity for sharing things in a step-by-step tutorial kind of way. A single venison hind quarter provides my family of four with four to five meals if the muscles are separated out. Many hunting families are not aware of the versatility of these cuts. The meat is discarded because it is considered tough and too difficult to prepare.
WAKE UP! There’s so much more that can be done to provide deerslayers’ families with freezers FULL of meal options that are lean, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and food that YOU have provided for YOUR family!
My deerslayer and I have taken a few photos of a venison hind quarter during processing to show the various muscles that can be used and, hopefully, provide some recipes that will work for your family.
The hind quarter provides four large muscles that can be used for different types of recipes.
The shank or lower leg meat is very sinewy and can either be placed in a vacuum bag with other like cuts of meat and frozen to be ground later or cooked all day (See my recipe for cook-all-day venison in “Come and Take It”).
After the meat has been skinned out, place it on a large cutting board, hip-side down. This allows you to see the different muscle groups.
You will be able to run your hand down between the muscles and separate them from each other by gently tearing away the connective tissue.
Follow the femur from the shank up through to the hip joint.
By carefully cutting this bone away, the large muscles will be visible and easy to package up for labeling (this is important as you’re scrounging around in the freezer in a few months wondering what the hell this mystery meat is), and freezing.
From one hind quarter, I am able to put away a muscle that, when silvery skin is removed, sears up very much like a tenderloin (it’ll feed about 2 people, but you’ll get another one from the other hind quarter!),
a muscle that can be pounded out for chicken-fried steaks, venison parmesean and the like, (It is also a good size for making whole-muscle jerky),
and another large muscle that can be used the same way or trussed up and used in the Bacon Wrapped Garlic Venison Roast Recipe .
The muscle that I usually use for a roast I refer to as a “football roast”. It is shaped like a football, and approximately 10 inches long. Unlike the other muscles in the hind quarter, it is rounded on the ends.
When making a roast, it is beneficial to leave all silvery skin or fascia intact. It will keep the juices from escaping during cooking. Also, it is imperative that after cooking, the meat must be allowed to rest for at least ten minutes. Depending on the meat, the fascia can be cut away after it is served and it must be served rare to medium rare, approximately 45 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees.
Bacon Wrapped Garlic Venison Roast
with Roasted Rosemary Root Veggies
1 venison “football” roast, approx. 3 lbs.
lots of chopped garlic, about 1/3 cup
Tommy’s Salt & Pepper Mix*
thick cut maple bacon, 3 slices
a bunch carrots, sliced
red potatoes, one per person, sliced thin
One onion, sliced thin
2-3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped or leaves
more Salt & Pepper Mix
1 cup water or beef stock
Place roast on a rack cut side up, above a pan to catch drips. The fascia (silver skin surrounding the muscle) will hold in the juices as the meat cooks. Depending on the roast, the fascia can be eaten or cut away after serving.
Liberally season cavity in the meat with Salt & Pepper mix and garlic. (I have to admit that I use prepared garlic in a jar for this particular recipe. I’ve prepared this recipe using fresh garlic and I’ve prepared it using the stuff in the jar. There is so much garlic needed in this recipe that fresh garlic is a little overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong! The intense eye-popping flavor is right up the alley of my junior deerslayers. However, I find that the more subtle flavor of the prepared, chopped garlic allows the other flavors to come through.)
Truss roast. Season the top of the roast with more S & P mix and add more garlic. Cut 3 slices of bacon in half and lay over top of the roast.
Place in 350 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes for a rare to medium rare roast. I’ve got to say at this point that if you don’t like rare to medium-rare meat, then don’t prepare this recipe. It simply doesn’t work if overcooked. The meat is tough and dry. Just don’t.
Let the meat sit for AT LEAST 10 minutes to rest, otherwise, all the meat juices will run out when you cut it. Serve with horseradish sauce. I simply mix 2 parts olive oil mayo with 1 part hot prepared horseradish.
Along with this recipe, in a 9×13 baking dish, toss sliced carrots, potatoes, and onions with S & P mix, olive oil to coat, and chopped rosemary. Add a little bit of water or stock to the pan (about a cup) and cook in the 350 degree oven with the roast. Both will be ready about the same time.
*Find Tommy’s Secret Salt & Pepper Mix in my August post.